It’s back! Carnaval is back! Wednesday is Ash Wednesday, so the official Carnaval celebrations began on Saturday; of course, if you’ve been following along, you know that the season starts with an important pre-Carnaval period starting in January, so we’ve been partying and parading for a while already. Last year, I wrote a feature on the year’s Carnaval earworms, and since music is such an important part of celebrations here on the coast of Colombia, I thought I’d bring it back! This time, I’ve eight songs that you will likely hear during a night out. Some of them are old, some are new, but they’ve all been an important part of my Carnaval soundtrack this year.
“Mami Ya Pa’ Que” by Rey Three Latino is a repetitive champeta song about a man enjoying being single and turning down his ex’s plea to get back together. Rey Three Latino (actual name Reynaldo de la Rans) also had a recent hit in “Champeta Con Dancehall.”
“La Tumba Catre” by Juan Piña is a song for shoulder shaking. For marching in place. For doing a little grapevine left and right. It’s full of horns and traditional drums. This one came out in 2006, so isn’t new…but also isn’t as old as I was guessing.
“La Batea” by Big Yamo Mr. Elegante is another champeta song all about shaking that booty. So the video has lots of booties. The artist from Cartagena both references and samples other recent huge hits (“Champeta Con Dancehall,” referenced in the intro to the first song, and “Bum Bum Brasilero“), but makes it something new.
Salsa star Joe Arroyo was a huge part of Carnaval back before I was alive, and while I am not normally a fan of salsa, I’m a fan of his music. “A Fulana” is another shake-your-shoulders big-sounding song with lots of horns.
“La Tanguita Roja” by Oro Sólido is also about butts in a way, but wrapped in a vintage merengue package. The title of the song literally means “the little red thong.”
I’m just now realizing how much champeta is killing the scene this year. AND “Chicle” by Koffee El Kafetero is also about not wanting that ex back. He says that she is like gum without flavor, that he’s already thrown out this gum.
I swear that I had never heard Maná’s “Me Vale” until this year’s Carnaval, when all of a sudden at a big party in the plaza I watched hundreds of people suddenly jumping up and down and banging their heads in a way I’d never seen Colombians do before. The song was actually released in 1993; maybe it was revitalized for its 25th anniversary?
“Scooby Doo Papa” is a song by DJ Kass; my cooler-than-me sitemate from the Bronx says this song has been bumping everywhere there since last summer. It became larger sensation when actress Lele Pons put up a video on Instagram of her dressed as Daphne from the show Scooby Doo and dancing with a friend dressed as Velma.
For nine hours of Carnaval music, you can listen to this mix. Let me know if it helps or hurts your productivity at work.